Around the Web: Looking back, looking forward

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Here’s a few interesting items I noticed while catching up on things after being away the past few days.

Game Informer has listed their top ten games they’re looking forward to in 2008 for the 360. Fallout 3 cracked the list at #3. Here’s a short sample of what they had to say:

“When word got out that Bethesda was working on Fallout 3, critics assumed the worst and the “Oblivion with guns” cry was born. Having sat through a demo of the game, we can’t say who’s right here, if making such a determination is even possible. All we know is that seeing your character step out of the nuke-proof vault for the first time in his life is a breathtaking gaming moment. We’re eager to explore this terrible world all over again, through a new set of eyes.”

On the Elder Scrolls front, both Oblivion and Shivering Isles have picked up some year end accolades and nominations. At IGN, the PS3 release came away with the Best RPG award. Sticking with PS3, it was also a runner-up in the Game of the Year, Best Graphics Technology, Best Original Score categories. In their PC category, Shivering Isles was a runner-up in the Best Expansion category. On 360, Shivering Isles was a runner-up in the Best RPG and Best DLC categories.

Over at Gamespot, Oblivion and Shivering Isles also received some recognition. On PS3, Oblvion is one of five finalists for PS3 Game of the Year. As for Shivering Isles, it was recognized in two categories, Best Expansion and Best DLC, on Xbox 360.

Top Xbox Live Downloads: November 2007

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Fighter’s Stronghold stays at #1 for November, selling more than twice as much as #2, Spell Tomes. I’m still amazed that tens of thousands of people still play Oblivion, to date.

Fun Fact: The average length of a typical Oblivion play session is around 1 1/2 hours**.

Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for November 2007*

1. The Fighter’s Stronghold
2. Spell Tomes
3. The Wizard’s Tower
4. Mehrunes’ Razor
5. Thieves Den

*ranked by number of times downloaded

**per unique user playing Oblivion while logged onto Xbox Live, worldwide

Top Xbox Live Downloads: October 2007

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Fighter’s Stronghold was the Oblivion DLC highlight for October. Hope you were one of the several hundred thousand folks who grabbed it while it was free. My personal favorite download, The Wizard’s Tower, replaced Knights of the Nine in the top 5.

Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for Oct. 2007*
1. Fighter’s Stronghold
2. Spell Tomes
3. Vile Lair
4. The Wizard’s Tower
5. Mehrunes’ Razor

*ranked by number of times downloaded

Fighter’s Stronghold Availability Spreads

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Ash just dropped me a note to say we’ve gotten an update from Microsoft and Fighter’s Stronghold is now available, for free, in the following countries as well:

Belgium
Denmark
Finland
Ireland
Norway
Netherlands
Sweden
Hong Kong
Korea
Taiwan
Singapore

So, if you’re in these countries get on Live and download that puppy by Sunday. It will be a while before we can have it out in localized territories, but we’ll let you know when and will make sure you get your shot at “free” too.

Fighter’s Stronghold credits

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If you haven’t downloaded Fighter’s Stronghold yet, what are you waiting for? It’s FREE. Who cares if you’re done playing Oblivion or don’t own it yet – if Santa gets you a copy of Oblivion Game of the Year and you missed out on your chance to get Fighter’s free, well, that, my friends, would be a sad tale I wouldn’t want to wish on anyone.

As always, lots of blood, sweat and tears go into everything we do, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the hard working and amazing team we have here, notably the ones made Fighter’s Stronghold happen.

Designers
Kurt Kuhlmann
Alan Nanes

Level Designer
Jeff Browne

Artists
Tony Greco
Jonah Lobe
Juan Sanchez

Producer
Jeff Gardiner

QA
Kevin Kauffman
Chris Krietz
Ryan Ashford
James Costantino
Jon DeVriendt
Dan Geske
Mike McGinn
Aaron Mitschelen
Jennifer Noland
Matt Ouzounian
John Pisano
Ryan Salvatore
Chris Steidel
Alexander Tran
Jesse Tucker
Matt Weil
Fred Zeleny

Fighter’s Stronghold DLC (for FREE!), Shivering Isles for PS3, and other Elder Scrolls happenings

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First, I wanted to let you know that we are finally releasing the last piece of downloadable content we created for Oblivion. We had mentioned it a long, long time ago but we hadn’t released it, until now. Starting Monday, October 15 it will be available to download via Xbox Live (for Xbox 360) and elderscrolls.com (for PC). And, for one week, it will be free to anybody who wants to download it and play it. So mark it on your calendars and don’t forget.

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Top Xbox Live Downloads: September 2007

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If you’ve logged onto Xbox Live in the past month, you may have noticed Oblivion downloadable content appearing as featured downloads, notably The Vile Lair. Not surprisingly, it ended being the most downloaded Oblivion DLC for September.

Top Five Oblivion Xbox Live downloads for Sept. 2007*
1. The Vile Lair
2. Shivering Isles
3. Spell Tomes
4. Mehrunes’ Razor
5. Knights of the Nine

*ranked by number of times downloaded

Oblivion is #8 most played on Xbox Live to date

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According to data released by Microsoft today, Oblivion is the 8th most played game on Xbox Live since November 2006 [edit:  this should be 2005. Most likely typo on Next Gen], when the Xbox 360 launched. Fairly remarkable when you consider Oblivion is a single player only game.

Here is the rest of the list:

01. Halo 2
02. Gears of War
03. Hexic HD
04. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas
05. Call of Duty 3
06. Call of Duty 2
07. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 3
08. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
09. Crackdown
10. PGR3

Oblivion Still in the Top 10

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I love MajorNelson’s top Xbox Live activity top ten lists. They do a great job illustrating Oblivion’s viagra-like staying power.

Here are the current top 10 played Xbox 360 games from the week of 7/30. The additional release dates in italics were added by me; bolded dates from 2006 also my emphasis.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles
1 Gears of War – 11/07/2006
2 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas – 11/21/2006
3 Guitar Hero II – 4/3/2007
4 Forza Motorsport 2 – 5/24/2007
5 Call Of Duty 3 – 11/07/2006
6 Bomberman LIVE – 07/18/2007
7 Oblivion – 03/20/2006
8 NCAA 08 – 07/17/2007
9 GRAW 2 – 03/06/2007
10 Saints Row – 8/29/2006

Oblivion is the only game on the list that has been out longer than a year and is a single player only game. That just blows my mind. To this day, tens of thousands of people play Oblivion. And these are just the ones who are logged onto Xbox Live while they play. We could conservatively add an extra 30-50% to include everyone who is not logged onto Live.

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Oblivion DLC update

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We’ve heard from folks in different countries that have been looking for certain DLC that was apparently missing where they were. So I worked with the folks over at Microsoft to figure what was missing in each country and they’ve dropped me an email to let me know that everything should now be available where it should be. If you still find that something is missing that you think should be there, let us know. Hit the jump for the full list.

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